Sunday Stills: #Weathering Memories

Strange Cloud

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is all about weather, which can be quite unpredictable during the spring in the Northern Hemisphere as well as the fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

This week, our weather warmed up to 80 degrees on Thursday then it rained overnight! Strange even for the Pacific North West. After a cool, windy day on Friday, we woke up Saturday to frosty conditions. Four distinct weather conditions in two days!

Lets take a look at the the kinds of weather we can expect in May. First up is the creepiest cloud formation I have ever seen. Hubby and I sat in our backyard enjoying the evening and these clouds started developing into…a face? A skull? Egads! It looks creepier in black and white!

Remembering other days of turbulent weather, out of a clear blue sky, spring thunderclouds appear and chase our cars or block our views of Yosemite’s Half Dome!

I’m more used to the beautiful spring storms we would see in the Sacramento Delta.

Thunderstorm

Those same delta spring storms are a mere preview to a windsurfer’s dream day in high winds!

Windsurfer getting some air
Windsurfer getting some air

Unexpected snow falls in desert places (Sedona on the left) or makes a late spring hike in the mountains slightly unmanageable.

On the flip side, too much sun over a long period of time can create devastating drought conditions, like what we experienced in Sacramento 6 years ago.

Dry Park during droubt

Even the Birds are Confused

Speaking of weather, these sunny days warm the land around our property and create thermals that attract the nearby nesting Violet-Green Swallows. They dart and fly at breakneck speeds feasting on insects. For Lisa’s bird weekly, I’m sharing this perky swallow with attitude perched on top of my husband’s truck.

The other day, we found a swallow trapped in our wood stove, having flown into the tiny space of the rooftop smokestack. Luckily my dog’s frantic barking alerted us to the dilemma. Of course I rescued it and took a photo op! She flew away quite vigorously and seemed no worse for the wear. Yesterday, as we continued to watch their flitting antics, my dog kept barking at the BBQ grill. Yep, I opened the cover and out flew another swallow!

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays

Have you heard of Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays feature? This week is our choice, so I thought I would hop in with a quote about weather from one of my favorite writers, John Muir.

“What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!”

John Muir, Stickeen

Behind the Artwork Details, Part 2

Last week, to celebrate the theme of water, I shared some information about the Thomas Mangelsen Snake River print hanging in my dining room.

The other two pieces are framed prints purchased in Placerville, California, near my former home in Sacramento. Placerville is home to a popular, long-standing Thomas Kinkade art gallery, a beloved local Christian artist and painter, who passed away in 2012. He was best known as the “Painter of Light,” depicting whimsical cottages, magical streetscapes, mountain churches and idyllic landscapes. He also painted scenes from around Northern California, instantly recognizable by locals.

Memories My Mom Made

Since Mother’s Day is celebrated in the US today, I wanted to share more about how I came by these prints.

Dining room

Back when my mom could travel, she visited me in the early-2000s and we took a drive to walk the quaint streets of Placerville. We stopped in at the Kinkade gallery and gawked at the lovely prints and originals. Of course, most originals and many framed prints were out of my price range, but we saw a two-piece framed set that included the two smaller prints you see. One is of the pink cherry blossoms, a fantasy-scape for which Kinkade is so well known. The smallest print is a snow scene of the American River that runs along Highway 50 that leads from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe.

Kinkade American River
Snow Along the American River, Thomas Kinkade

Believe me when I tell you, I have driven by this scene countless times over the last 40 years during every season. As I oohed and ahhed, my sweet mom, lover of art, bought the set for me. She had some money saved and said it was a gift to me. One that I will forever cherish especially now that she is gone. This is my second Mother’s Day without Mom and my first without my Mother-in-law who passed in February.

Nature’s Garden

With capricious weather conditions here in Eastern Washington, wildflowers can be found everywhere, including our bare backyard. We have lived in our new home for almost two months. As we await the pole barn/shop to be built soon, landscaping our property is a distant project.

I really miss my sunflower, hydrangea and plumeria plants, which were grown and nurtured from seeds. The plumeria and hydrangeas were rehomed where they will thrive. For now I can enjoy what nature provides in the way of wildflowers on our property. Surprisingly, for a half-acre of nothing but sandy dirt, these wildflowers manage to pop up everywhere.

You have seen the Arrowleaf Balsamroot before (aka sunflowers), but just this week, the gorgeous Silky Lupine (a similar species grew in Yosemite) and Carpet Flox are popping up and adding purple and white spots of color to the forest floor and to my dirt yard!

Sharing my wild, Alpine garden this week for Amy’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Gardens. And for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…we had 26 link-ups this week and two new bloggers to Sunday Stills. I enjoy reading each and every post!

Cascade of Blogger Links for Water

What kind of weather are you expecting and what is your favorite? Some of us are getting it all this month! I look forward to seeing the weather in your neck of the woods. Have a great week!

my signature w/ hibiscus

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Sunday Stills: Reflections of a Mother’s #Giving

Sunday Stills duck banner

Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.

This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.

I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.

My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.

Frog plant hanger

Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.

Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.

Ducks enjoy the river
Wild ducks enjoy the river

I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.

Family enjoying pet duck and skunk

Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.

Saucer-sized American Beauties
Saucer-sized American Beauties from my garden!

I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.

Next generation in Yosemite

She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.

In every walk with nature...Muir
Yosemite Valley
Everyone needs beauty...and places to play in...
Sunset on Lembert Dome, high country of Yosemite

Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!

Floral Bouquet

Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.

Giving

Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.

Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Embrace

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme falls on Mother’s Day celebrated in the U.S. The theme is embrace (thanks to Hugh for the great theme idea)! 

To get you started, is my interpretation of embrace.

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.
Brodie’s home and missed his orange pillow.

A photo of me and my dog Brodie last summer when we brought him home after two days in the Emergency Vet Hospital. Out of the blue he got extremely sick and was tested and diagnosed with a mild case of canine parvovirus, potentially deadly in young puppies and senior dogs.

I thought I would not see him alive after the veterinary staff took him away into isolation. His case was mild because he’d had a full round of vaccinations but still got sick.

When he came home that day, I clasped and cuddled him close to me. I love both my sweet pooches! Almost a year later and I cannot hug him enough!

Of course, you can interpret the theme any way you choose, and it does not have to have the sub-theme of mom. Here are some ideas to get you thinking from Dictionary dot com:

Embrace: to put one’s arms around and press tightly

  • Synonyms of embrace: bear-hug, clasp, crush, enfold, grasp, hug,
    Words related to embrace: clamp, cling, cradle, grab, grip, hold, entwine, fold, lock, cuddle, fondle, nestle, nuzzle, pat, pet, snuggle, stroke

Embrace: to surround or cover closely.

  • “The stone walls that embrace the monastery serve to symbolize its function as a retreat from an unquiet world.” Encircle, envelop, wrap

As a verb, embrace can mean accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically: “besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology.”

  • synonyms: welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one’s heart.

In this photo, my sister-in-law embraces her soon-to-be adopted daughter as we open Christmas presents.

A young mother's embrace

We have embraced little EM and her sister into our family as our newest nieces!

My own mother is 500 miles away. I hope my family nearby can hug her for me.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Who or what will you embrace this week?

Don’t forget to link-up!

My Mother’s Feet No Longer Touch the Earth

If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you how much I have missed sharing posts in the Weekly Coffee Share, and bid a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.

If we were having coffee, I would share my heart with you today.

On this Mother’s Day, I miss my mom, who sits in her wheelchair in a nursing home a few hundred miles from me. Further inspired by the weekly photo challenge Earth , I was reminded of Mother Earth and immediately thought of the mountains and the ocean.

My mother went to great lengths to make sure we regularly visited the beaches of San Diego as well as the trails of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. Places that are impossible for her to visit now.

Tuolumne Trails

I am not a writer of poetry, but I was able to scratch this out on impulse.

My Mother’s Feet No Longer Touch the Earth

Sitting in her wheeled chair, she vaguely remembers how her feet once touched…

…the mountain trails of Yosemite
…the wet sands of Pacific Beach
…the warm asphalt streets where she walked her dogs
…the backyard grass in care of her injured wild ducks
…the clean wood floors of her beloved home

Feet that touch the ground no more.

Time and dementia robbed me of her life, too young
Her feet unable to feel Mother Earth

Her favorite places still long to feel the touch of her feet again.

I can only retrace her steps and willingly I go…
For the rest of my life.

If we were having coffee, my wish for you is to enjoy your Mother’s Day, however that may be.

I love you, Mom.